Chick-fil-A employees in Orlando, Florida did something on Sunday they aren't used to. They went to work at the restaurant.
Chick-fil-A has closed its locations on Sundays since 1946. Founder Truett Cathy said he believes that all Chick-fil-A operators and employees should be able to rest, spend time with family and friends, and worship if they choose to do so.
The Orlando-area location made an exception in the wake of the deadly mass shooting at Pulse nightclub that happened early Sunday morning. Chick-fil-A employees made food and gave it away free to people who were waiting to donate blood and to those responding to the shooting.
Chick-fil-A told The Huffington Post that there are exceptions to their 'closed on Sunday' policy:
I can confirm that while we have a corporate policy that firmly states we are closed for business on Sundays, there have been rare cases that move our local operators to respond with food donations to help communities in need. The events in Orlando stirred our local restaurant owners and their teams to band together to provide nourishment to first responders as well as volunteers who donated blood. We do not think this requires any recognition. It is the least we can do in this community we love.
This wasn't the first time Chick-fil-A restaurants have opened on a Sunday. In 2015, restaurants in north Texas served victims and volunteers during severe storms, and in 2014, Chick-fil-A in Birmingham, Alabama fed hundreds of motorists stranded on highways during a snow storm.
Pulse nightclub — the site of Sunday's deadly shooting — was a popular hotspot for gay people in Orlando. Chick-fil-A's reputation with gay rights advocates hasn't always been rosy.
In 2011, activists labeled the restaurant chain as "anti-gay" due to the company's corporate ties to Christianity. In 2012, Chick-fil-A President Dan Cathy said "God's judgment" was invited upon the United States because of the legality of same-sex marriage.